From Gaming to Hating: Extreme-Right Ideological Indoctrination and Mobilization for Violence of Children on Online Gaming Platforms

As a consequence of numerous extreme-right terror attacks in which the perpetrators posted their manifestos and attack life streams on online platforms adjacent to the video gaming community, as well as radicalized within that environment to a significant degree (e.g., Christchurch, New Zealand; Halle, Germany), increasing scholarly and policymaker interest is focusing on far-right radicalization and recruitment within online video game environments. Yet little empirical insights exist about the specific engagement between right-wing extremists and their potential recruits on these platforms. This study presents findings from a qualitative exploration of German police-investigation files for two children who radicalized on gaming platforms to become involved in extreme-right criminal behavior, including the plotting of a terrorist attack. The study demonstrates the importance of online and offline factor interaction, especially regarding the role of familiar criminogenic factors, as well as the social–emotional bonding between potential recruits and extremist gamers created through shared gaming experiences that lead to high-intensity extremist radicalization aimed at offline behavioral changes. The study did not find evidence for strategic organizational far-right recruitment campaigns, but rather multidirectional social-networking processes which were also initiated by the potential recruits.

Tags: extreme-right terror attacks, gamers, manifestos, radicalization, video games